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Copenhagen Consensus Center



The third Copenhagen Consensus was a year-long project involving more than 65 researchers tasked with setting priorities among a series of proposals to confront ten great global challenges. A panel of economic experts, comprising some of the world’s most distinguished economists, was invited to consider these issues.

The ten Assessment Papers, commissioned from acknowledged authorities in each area of policy, included nearly 40 proposals for the panel’s consideration. During the conference the panel examined these proposals in detail. Each Assessment Paper was discussed at length with its principal author, and the experts met in private session in Copenhagen. Based on the costs and benefits of the solutions, the panel ranked the proposals in descending order of desirability.

Fighting malnourishment should be the top priority for policy-makers and philanthropists

The Expert Panel was presented with nearly 40 investment proposals designed by experts to reduce the challenges of Armed Conflict, Biodiversity Destruction, Chronic Disease, Climate Change, Education Shortages, Hunger and Malnutrition, Infectious Disease, Natural Disasters, Population Growth, and Water and Sanitation Shortages. They found that fighting malnourishment should be the top priority for policy-makers and philanthropists.

Given the budget constraints, they found 16 investments worthy of investment (in descending order of desirability):

  1. Bundled micronutrient interventions to fight hunger and improve education

  2. Expanding the Subsidy for Malaria Combination Treatment 

  3. Expanded Childhood Immunization Coverage

  4. Deworming of Schoolchildren, to improve educational and health outcomes 

  5. Expanding Tuberculosis Treatment 

  6. R&D to Increase Yield Enhancements, to decrease hunger, fight biodiversity destruction, and lessen the effects of climate change

  7. Investing in Effective Early Warning Systems to protect populations against natural disaster

  8. Strengthening Surgical Capacity 

  9. Hepatitis B Immunization 

  10. Using Low‐Cost Drugs in the case of Acute Heart Attacks in poorer nations (these are already available in developed countries)

  11. Salt Reduction Campaign to reduce chronic disease

  12. Geo‐Engineering R&D into the feasibility of solar radiation management

  13. Conditional Cash Transfers for School Attendance 

  14. Accelerated HIV Vaccine R&D 

  15. Extended Field Trial of Information Campaigns on the Benefits From Schooling

  16. Borehole and Public Hand Pump Intervention

A complete overview of Copenhagen Consensus 2012's outcomes, as well as the official press release can be downloaded below.

The Expert Panel recommendations were released on 14 May, 2012


Nobel Laureate Finn Kydland's recommendations

Research & Development

Research and development to enhance agricultural output has the beauty of helping with three of humanity's challenges. It will reduce hunger by lowering food prices. It will preserve biodiversity. And it will keep carbon locked up in forests, aiding the fight against climate change. 

Family Planning

We know more now than we have in the past about how to respond to population pressures and help nations to grow sustainably. If we can meet the need for family planning that exists in some low-income countries, we can create some benefits, including a reduction in infant and maternal mortality. It will also help with other challenges, including climate change and stimulate economic growth. 

Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling's recommendations


Remarkable progress has been made in education. Not long ago, we were mainly concerned with getting children into school. Today, with almost 90% of children in school, we can direct our attention to increasing the quality of schooling. 

Infectious disease

The investments to combat infectious disease are very cheap and effective, even using conservative assumptions. Policy-makers can achieve a great amount in this area. 

Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith's recommendations

Hunger & Malnutrition

As in 2008, one of the most compelling investments is to get nutrients to the world's undernourished. The benefits from doing so - in terms of increased health, schooling, and productivity - are tremendous. 

Infectious disease

Exapanding immunization coverage for children is a very cost-effective intervention that has the potential to save thousands of children's lives. 

Panel Member Nancy Stokey's recommendations


There are still about 925 million hungry people in the world, and nearly 180 million preschool-age children do not get vital nutrients. A small investment in changing behaviors, delivering micronutrients, and fighting words and diarrheal disease can make a very big difference.

Malaria Combination Treatment:

Helping make malaria combination treatment more affordable for poor countries is an effective and proven solution. I urge policy-makers to prioritize making malaria combination treatment affordable, especially given that resistance is increasing. 

Nobel Laureate Robert Mundell's recommendations


There are compelling reasons for more attention to be devoted to resolving the challenge of malnutrition. This is an area where we have cheap and effective ways to make sustainable changes that can transform lives. 


Deworming continues to be an overlooked intervention that is deserving of greater attention and resources. This simple and cheap investment can mean a child is healthier and spends more time in school.